Our Lady of Guadalupe Image Tours Chester, Surrounding Area

  By D.F. Kratzer   CHESTER— A replica of the Our Lady of Guadalupe image came to Chester and toured the city and the surrounding area recently with stops in New Cumberland and Weirton. This opportunity for faithful at several West Virginia and Ohio locations to see the image and participate in services specific to the event was made possible through the efforts of the Apostles of Divine Mercy group of Sacred Heart Parish in Chester, which sponsored the image’s visit. The organization is dedicated to promoting awareness of and bringing an end to abortion.   Bob and Cathy Glass, parishioners of Sacred Heart, have served as the “guardians” of the image during the trip and have accompanied it to and from the many locations it has been displayed, Cathy said.   “Members of the group,” she continued, “have been supportive in helping” to bring the image to the area.   The reason for the travels of the image, which has visited sites across the world, is twofold, Bob said.   The first reason, he said, is “to try to end human suffering and abortion … to end the culture of death and to create a culture of life. The second mission is for personal conversion. Each of us are called in a different way to become better Catholics, better Christians. … That’s really the goals of the missionary image.”   Though unable to be a part of the events surrounding the image’s visit, Father Lino P. Ebejer, pastor of Sacred Heart, has been “thrilled” and “impressed” by the efforts put forth to assure the image’s trip to and visits throughout the area, said Nancy Swan, secretary at Sacred Heart.   To open the image’s visit and tour, Father Eric Antwi, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in New Cumberland, celebrated benediction at Sacred Heart, which also included a rosary recitation and veneration of the image, June 27. The parish also included veneration of the image as part of its weekend Masses June 28-29.   During the image’s trip to the Mountain State, veneration services, Masses and rosary recitations were also held at Immaculate Conception, Sacred Heart of Mary Parish in Weirton, St. Joseph Parish in Weirton, St. Anthony Parish in Follansbee, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Fox’s Nursing Home in Chester, East Liverpool City Hospital and Nentwick Nursing Home in East Liverpool, Ohio, and St. George Parish in Lisbon, Ohio, where Cathy’s cousin Father Bob Edwards is the pastor. The image was also featured in Chester’s Fourth of July parade and was accompanied by members of the Apostles of Divine Mercy group from Sacred Heart.   The image, Bob said, has, since October 2000, traveled around the world, visiting Russia, China, Japan, the Philippines, numerous countries throughout Europe and South America, Canada and each state.   The image is one of several replicas of the original image of Our Lady imprinted on the tilma—outer garment or apron—of St. Juan Diego in 1531. The tilma featuring the original image is on display at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, which is a perennial pilgrimage site.